This paper presents a contextual. historical analysis of recent accrual accounting developments in the Australian Public Sector (APS). It takes a critical stance in that it questions the accrual accounting developments on a number of grounds. The paper examines changes in public sector financial management and accountability in four distinct settings, being: accrual financial reporting, accrual management systems, whole of government reporting, and accrual based budgeting. The findings show that already in Australia accrual accounting has made significant encroachments into some areas of annual financial and budget reporting. This influx has meant that terms such as ‘deficit’, ‘debt’, ‘liabilities’, ‘operating results’, ‘assets’, etc. have begun to change in meaning, which it is argued has important implications for the current process of transformation of aspects of the APS.
- accrual financial reporting
- Australian public sector accounting
- cash accounting
- accrual budgeting
- Australian public sector transformation